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Yacht Transport from Asia to Turkey 2014: Our Experience

By SY Maggie Drum with comments from Peters & May — last modified Nov 12, 2015 12:49 PM
Australians Duncan and Caroline Woodhead shipped their yacht "Maggie Drum" from Phuket to Turkey to avoid the risk of encountering pirates in the Red Sea or sailing the long way around South Africa and back to Turkey. Read their report below with comments from Peters & May at the bottom of the report.

Published: 2014-11-06 00:00:00
Topics: Global Yachting Services
Countries: Turkey , Thailand

We are an Australian couple doing a world cruise on a 42 ft sloop.

We got quotes from 2 companies (for yacht freighting): Sevenstars and Peters and May. The deals were very similar. We would deliver our boat to the ship anchored off Phuket then the loadmaster would load the boat on the ship and secure her to the deck,with her mast still in place then be unloaded in Turkey 3-4 weeks later .The cost was approximately USD$860 a foot.

We decided to go with Peters and May as their price was approximately 10% cheaper. Although it was Peters and May's first time loading from Phuket, both companies had been involved in shipping boats around the world for many years.

We were due be shipped in April with about a 3 week window to allow for hold ups (as we have learnt shipping is a very inexact business due to hold ups in port, weather etc.). At this stage we had paid the full amount as requested one month before the original date for shipping. Then the delays and excuses started coming, but still we were told we would definitely be shipped by late May.

Finally we received this email from Peters and May:
"We have recently had a further two cancellations including the largest of the yachts. With this in mind we no longer have sufficient revenue to make the sailing a reality and rather than drag our remaining clients though another embarrassing period of uncertainty we would rather simply cut our losses, refund all monies and allow you to make alternative arrangements. On that level please let us know your bank account details so we can refund any deposit owed."

We were  left stranded in Thailand by Peters and May along with several other yachts. This is where Sevenstar came to the rescue picking up many of the boats stranded in Phuket. Unfortunately for us and another boat, the only way they could accommodate us at this late stage was to put our boats in the hold, meaning we would have to demast our yacht which was an extra expense we had to incur. Sevenstar helped with the logistics of getting the mast removed and stored on deck. They even arranged a delivery skipper to take our boat out to the ship as by this time we were in the UK (foolishly believing Peters and Mays false promises).

The unloading in Istanbul went very smoothly and two days later we were sailing in European waters.

What I find most distressing about the situation we found ourselves in, was Peters and May's lack of determination to see the job through. Reputations are made and lost by companies by their actions, not what they say or any amount of advertising. Beware if you are considering transporting your boat.

Peter and May's Response

We are genuinely very sorry to hear that clients of our have had such a bad experience with our service as we have always taken pride in how we very much customer focused rather than simply interested in profit and corporate success.  Unfortunately in the case of our Phuket to the Mediterranean sailing for Spring 2014, we did suffer significant issues which ultimately led clients feeling down in this way.  We did charter a vessel called the MV Rike in order to load approximately 12 sailing and motor yachts from Phuket to the Mediterranean which was scheduled to load between the 1st and the 20th April.  Unfortunately, in the month prior to the MV Rike arriving in Phuket and before we had taken control of the vessel, it suffered significant delays due to cargo and port issues which basically meant that rather than arriving in April, it was going to be delayed until Mid  May at the earliest.  We did keep all clients updated with this delay so that they had all the information required which would allow them to make informed decisions.    

As a result of this delay, some of the clients decided that they wanted to make alternative plans and cancelled their bookings with us.  As all vessels on this type of charter service (whether with Peters & May or our competitors) are only affordable when there is sufficient demand, these cancelations them meant that the MV Rike was no longer viable.  I can absolutely promise that we spent an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to find suitable solutions even to the point or accepting that we’d have to make a large loss on the vessel but ultimately it was not possible to find a solution.

This vessel is the only sailing we have disappointed clients in this way and have performed many other successful sailings with very satisfied customers.  Shipping isn’t a definite science and therefore sometimes it is inevitable that there will be problems.

Richard Howatt
Peters & May

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anthonyh
anthonyh says:
Nov 12, 2015 10:00 AM

In all fairness to Peters & May - a company that we have not used - what happened re your boat transport is not that unusual. Indeed, in our experience, what is unusual was the frank admission by P&M that the shipment was to be cancelled and why it was cancelled. We had one attempted shipment of our boat from Europe to Asia cancelled three times by two different shipping companies, including Seven Star. For one shipment we had flown to Europe from Asia, prepared the boat for mast-down deck transport out of Antwerp, only to have the shipment cancelled a week before the departure date. We tried twice more to arrange shipment over a three month period, and on the last attempt (not with Seven Star) our yacht was left on the dock in Malmo in early November after we had arranged for her to be taken by road to Malmo. We were told, several weeks after the transport ship had departed from Malmo, that our boat had been left on the dock, and she needed to be moved! In the end we aborted our attempt to ship our boat to Asia. Seven years later we shipped another boat, mast-up on deck, from the Med to the Netherlands. The first date was cancelled, the second date was cancelled, and the third date, three months later, was successful. Our boat arrived unharmed in the Netherlands, but we employed an experienced captain who had in the past supervised loading boats from the water onto the decks of a transport ship. That we would do again if we ever transported a boat again and transport was to be on the deck of a general cargo ship (as distinct from a float-on float-off yacht-transport ship). We have since talked to a number of people who have shipped their boats, and have heard stories of delays and of several more-serious occurrences. The process often goes smoothly, but it also often does not. We believe that there is little difference between the major boat-shipping companies who, in our view, do try to do a good job. We think that the whole process of boat transport by ship involves uncertainties that are not spelled out as clearly as perhaps they should.

julipashkova
julipashkova says:
Oct 11, 2015 06:51 AM

I found the great service here Sevenseasus these guys offer yacht shipping service.

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